This resource guide addresses a key problem that many district and school leaders in California face: how to increase student enrollment and success in A–G courses to reduce equity gaps in college eligibility. Developed from a qualitative research study that examined the policies and practices of nine school districts in California with A–G completion rates surpassing the overall statewide rate, the guide presents strategies, tools, and resources to address challenges with A–G course alignment, counseling, and scheduling. The guide is organized around eight key questions in three overarching categories:
A–G course-alignment challenges: (a) Where are there equity gaps in A–G access and completion? (b) How can course offerings be revamped to ensure greater options? (c) How can districts facilitate A–G course approvals and ensure consistency in courses across schools? To address these challenges, exemplar districts implemented A–G data audits and analysis; eliminated or revamped non-A–G courses; aligned course offerings with graduation, A–G, and career and technical education requirements; and centralized A–G course-approval processes.
Counseling challenges: (a) How do schools build an understanding of A–G requirements with students and families? (b) How do schools monitor A–G progress given data challenges and large student caseloads? (c) How do schools approach A–G advising with diverse student populations? Study districts implemented a range of tools and resources to build understanding of A–G requirements, manually evaluated transcripts and used data tools to monitor A–G progress, and implemented antiracist and inclusive counseling practices.
Scheduling and placement challenges: (a) How can schools approach master scheduling in ways that ensure equitable access to A–G courses? (b) How can schools engage students in credit-recovery options to complete the A–G sequence? Several solutions were implemented among study districts, including student-centered course offerings, prioritization of English learners and students with disabilities in master scheduling, flexible bell schedules, open access policies for all A–G courses, and creative credit-recovery programming.
Several recommendations emerge from the study and resource guide. Districts should consider local policies and systems that address: (a) auditing A–G access and completion equity, (b) revamping A–G course offerings and sequences to address gatekeeper courses, (c) creating centralized processes for submitting and updating A–G course offerings, (d) developing open-access policies for A–G course offerings, (e) implementing flexible bell schedules, (f) using common tools to monitor A–G progress, and (g) offering more options for credit recovery.
This guide is part of a PACE publication set that includes a policy brief and related report. The report finds that, although overall participation in college preparatory coursework is increasing, disparities in course access and success by school, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status persist. The brief highlights key findings from the report as well as from this resource guide and recommends best practices for improvement: identifying gaps in course availability and enrollment, implementing policies to expand equitable participation and completion, and monitoring progress across schools and student subgroups.
Suggested citationLee, P. (2023, July). A–G resource guide: Insights and strategies from exemplar school districts [Guide]. Policy Analysis for California Education. https://edpolicyinca.org/publications/a-g-resource-guide